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28.04.16

Councils failing to support children with mental health problems, say MPs

Looked-after children with mental health problems are being failed by local authorities and health services, according to a new report from the Education Select Committee.

The report found that despite almost half of all children in care meeting the threshold for mental health problems, they are consistently being denied treatment because they fail to meet strict requirements or because they lack a stable development, despite the fact that this contravenes guidelines.

It recommends that child and adolescent mental health services (CAHMS) should make it clear that they cannot refuse to see children because they lack a stable placement and tackle delays in care for children who move out of an area. The committee heard from one 16-year-old girl who had been waiting two and a half years for mental health treatment because she had moved 13 times during that period.

Neil Carmichael MP, chair of the Education Committee, said: “Local authorities have a special responsibility for the welfare of looked-after children. In spite of this duty, it’s clear that many looked-after children in England are not getting the mental health support they need.”

The report also said that a joined-up approach between local authorities, schools and health and social services was needed to ensure children receive the best support.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, community and wellbeing spokesperson for the LGA, said: “We recognise that improvements urgently need to be made to the mental health services available to all children, in particular those in care. Early intervention is key, and it is not right for any child to have to wait a long time for treatment.”

She also said that she supported a joined-up approach to children in care, but that more funding is needed to achieve this.

Funding for children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing is currently just 6% of the NHS mental health budget and 0.7% of its overall budget.

The consequences of a lack of mental health support for children in care are severe. Care leavers are five times more likely to attempt suicide than children who have not been in care, and 23% of adult prisoners and 40% of prisoners under the age of 21 have been in care.

Therefore, the report also said that one child’s unstable and unsupported experience of the care system would cost the government £22,415 more every year than proper support because of costs to the health, social care and criminal justice systems.

The report also recommended that the government amend guidance to make it clear that all looked-after children should have a mental health assessment and that CAHMS should prioritise assessments for children in care.

It said CAHMS should be available to care-leavers up to the age of 25, to support them in leaving care.

The report also recommended better training on children’s mental health for teachers and foster carers, and that Local Transformation Plans should specifically state the services they provide for children in care.

A recent report said that local government cuts mean foster carers are already struggling to care for children. 

Comments

Linda Peters   15/07/2017 at 20:27

Hi, I am Linda Peters. Public health and social care are best option for poor people. Neil Carmichael MP, chair of the Education Committee, said: “Local authorities have a special responsibility for the welfare of looked-after children. In spite of this duty, it’s clear that many looked-after children in England are not getting the mental health support they need.”This health care is work for all people . It feels great if I can work for my people.Thank you….. visit l ink : http://onedaytop.com/health/

Linda Peterss   15/12/2017 at 18:55

Hi, She also said that she supported a joined-up approach to children in care, but that more funding is needed to achieve this. The report also recommended that the government amend guidance to make it clear that all looked-after children should have a mental health assessment.I agree with your post. Thanks for sharing your post.

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